The (mostly) CW Review

Supergirl: Truth, Justice and the American Way (Season 1, Episode 14)

“By breaking the law you have forfeited your right to exist.” – Master Jailer

After it’s one week hiatus Supergirl came back with some bite – that is to say that Kara is a lot angrier than she was a few weeks ago and I kind of like it.

This week was a lot about morality. Kara was forced to decide on what she would do with Maxwell Lord who had been locked up in the DEO for an indefinite amount of time. Her extra-terrestrial opponent was actually an alien serial killer (so, he was an alien but he also killed other aliens… in case that wasn’t clear) and as if that were not enough she also had to deal with a new opponent in the office. Her boss hired a new assistant, demoting Kara to second assistant – it’s all very Devil Wears Prada.

The episode started off with a visit from Non, who took Kara to her aunt’s funeral and handily mentioned that he was calling a ceasefire during his period of mourning. Melissa Benoist truly is the glue of this show and she is a fantastic actress – this was illustrated wonderfully as she delivered a heartfelt funeral prayer over her aunt’s coffin.

Kara still believes that Hank killed her aunt and she is nowhere near forgiveness yet. Last episode was the first time that we really got to see Kara angry and it’s great that they’re continuing with that. So rarely are female characters allowed to simply be angry when bad things happen to them – sad, broken, invigorated, determined: sure, but to express anger like any other natural emotion is uncommon but refreshing.

Speaking of fresh, I think that this week’s villain was a nice deviation from the cycle of random alien, Non & Astra, Maxwell Lord. So far it’s seemed like all aliens on the planet just want to kill humans (in which case, maybe Maxwell Lord isn’t so crazy). To have an alien that was harming other aliens was a nice new twist. Also, his identity behind his mask came as a real surprise for me which was good.

The fight sequences in this show are never perfect and this week that was particularly noticeable. It was as though Kara and the Master Jailer were simply waiting for each other to make moves: almost like it was choreographed or something… I’m hoping that this is just teething problems in an otherwise brilliant first season.

Overall, this was a very good episode of the show. I do wish that I got to see more of Winn but it’s not as though he was overtly absent.

The Flash: King Shark (Season 2, Episode 15)

“Ain’t nobody faster than me.” – Wally

If you don’t remember King Shark from earlier this season then he’s half-man, half-shark. Based on that alone, my expectations for this episode were incredibly low. I’m happy to report that I was just so very wrong.

This episode we got to see the dynamic between Barry and Wally, Diggle and Lyla made a trip over to Central City, King Shark tried to kill Barry and after months of waiting, we finally know the identity of Zoom.

The theme this week was character development. For once, I liked watching Caitlin: after losing Jay last week her personality’s changed. She’s harder, meaner and more – it really feels as though this is a Caitlin that I can get on board with and it’s the most interesting that she’s been since Season 1.

We’re talking about an episode in which there was a giant CGI man-shark so let’s talk about the giant CGI man-shark. For a CW television show, I think that King Shark was amazing. He was genuinely quite terrifying to behold and that came from a fantastic effects team who took the time to give him his own distinctive look. I was expecting Sharknado but this was much better and I have to commend what they did with this character.

This was another crossover episode, this time with Diggle and Lyla coming over from Star City to help out with King Shark. I love Diggle no matter where he is and it was nice to see him have more of an active role which he’s been lacking recently in Arrow.

Jessie is slowly being introduced as a character to the show and I’m a wary fan. Initially she seemed like a bit of brat: appearing very affronted by the idea that after having her life saved by a group of people who had risked their own lives, despite not even knowing her, she wouldn’t be able to go back home.

Perhaps I was quick to judge – I imagine that there’s an adjustment period with these things. Later on in the episode she came into her own and even found a place in this ensemble, working with her dad and annoying Cisco. Is she a replacement for Jay? I would be fine with that.

Ever since Wally was introduced and he made that “white shadow” remark about Barry, I’ve been waiting to see exactly what kind of dynamic the two will have and that was finally revealed this week. Tense and uncomfortable are both words that would accurately describe the interaction. There’s a lot of jealousy on Wally’s part and Barry was just resigned to take any lashing out that Wally threw his way. Fundamentally they’re very similar people and I think that that means their relationship will culminate in either all-out hatred or a real bromance.

Grant Gustin delivered another emotional scene when talking to Joe and Iris about his experience on Earth-2. Watching that scene, I felt a wave of sympathy for Barry and it was the first time that I had thought of Earth-2 as equally significant as Earth-1 so for the second week in a row, kudos to Gustin for a beautiful performance.

I feel as though Season 1 of this show was very much the origin story of The Flash and Season 2 is where we get to see Barry develop into a real, bonafide hero – not just somebody who does the obvious, right thing when convenient but who makes difficult decisions whilst putting everybody else ahead of himself.

The episode ended with the big reveal: the identity of Zoom. Jay Garrick is Zoom – I think. When Zoom took off his mask it was Jay’s face but he had just dropped Earth-2 Jay’s dead body on the floor and we’ve already seen Earth-1 Jay (Hunter Zolomon) so are there three Jays? I’m not sure what’s happening with this storyline anymore. I’m intrigued but it’s also giving me a headache.

Arrow: Taken (Season 4, Episode 15)

“I’m enough of a geek to know science fiction when I see it.” – Felicity

This week Oliver got to channel his inner Liam Neeson as he raced to save his kidnapped child from Damien Darhk.

The big news this week in Arrow was that Vixen would be visiting Star City to help Oliver out in his crusade against Damien Darhk. There was some conflict between Oliver and Felicity after Felicity discovered that Oliver had a secret son which resulted in her leaving him. The Arrow team destroyed Darhk’s source of power and saved Oliver’s son but the not-quite-shocking end to the episode was that Felicity was able to walk again.

With the mayoral campaign and Felicity’s dad, we haven’t seen much of Darhk in recent weeks and I forgot what a fun villain he is. He strikes this great intermediate between genuinely intimidating and amusing. Add the fact that he was the first person to suggest that Felicity – the tech genius of the show – motorise her wheelchair and he was my favourite part of this episode.

Vixen, a.k.a. Mari McCabe, became a live-action character for this episode of Arrow. If you’re unfamiliar with the character then Vixen is an animated web-series set in the Arrowverse. Maybe you caught her little joke in the episode, she and Oliver “had an animated encounter last year.” I don’t care if it was corny, I laughed.

I loved Vixen: I thought that she was totally awesome and kick-ass but she’s just a bit too far-fetched for Arrow. Yes, Arrow has become more outlandish and magic is just an accepted part of that world now but Vixen has a totem that allows her to channel the spirit of any animal. Compared to The Flash and SupergirlArrow is the grounded show – I can’t see superhuman abilities fitting in and I don’t think that Vixen belongs there.

A very strange scene occurred in which Laurel cried to her father about the fact that Oliver had cheated on her and fathered a child with another woman whilst they were together. I understand that they were really trying to press the theme of what it is to be a father but that was some really clunky writing. Perhaps I’m cold-hearted but I felt no sympathy for Laurel – it’s been a decade, you already knew he cheated on you with your sister: you should probably get over it.

Oliver was finally victorious over Darhk as Vixen destroyed what seems to have been his source of power. Moving forward, I’m not sure what that means for the show: I don’t think that we’ve seen the last of Darhk but will he get his powers back? I said that his wife seems like she could be a real challenge for Oliver so maybe she’ll step into the ring next.

Unlike with Laurel, I can sympathise with Felicity’s situation and her decision to take a break from Oliver (we saw them together at the gravestone at the beginning of the season so I don’t think that this separation is permanent). One thing did irk me a bit, though. Felicity can walk again – miraculously, just in time to walk out on Oliver. Is that poetic or just really cheesy?

The 100: Bitter Harvest (Season 3, Episode 6)

“What are you on and how do I get some?” – Jasper

Last week’s manifesto of ‘blood must not have blood’ was put to the test across the entirety of this episode.

Clarke was faced with the decision of what to do with Emerson – the man responsible for the most recent attack, and destruction, of the mountain – and eventually spared his life. Jaha continued to induct people into the increasingly sketchy City of Light and it was revealed that there is a second, improved version of Alie out in the world. Pike launched an attack on a Grounder village but thanks to Octavia, they were prepared and killed on of the Sky People.

As Clarke continues to stay with Lexa we’re seeing how their different ideas combine to create what ultimately is “ideal” policy and that’s an interesting part of the show. Obviously, last season they had a brief period in which they were a couple but that ended with a massacre. I like how the show hasn’t made them jump back into that relationship – whilst there is clear and palpable chemistry between them , there are bigger things at play than a will they, won’t they story. The development of their relationship this season feels very organic.

The mystery of the City of Light is slowly unraveling – is it a cult or a coup? Nobody seems particularly interested in it apart from Abby, yet it looks like the number of people involved in it within Arcadia is growing exponentially. When they revealed that Abby’s co-worker, Doctor Jackson, would being spying on her on behalf of Alie it all just became even more sinister.

Pike is wildly growing worse: what initially seemed like defensive, or even preemptive reactionary behaviour is now just becoming this bullying sense of entitlement. In this episode, Lexa said “it is human nature to want vengeance” and that was demonstrated pretty clearly through this story-line. The Sky People were ready to kill the Grounders without even asking for them to move but the Grounders were happy to raze their own home and the Grounders with it. This show is blurring the lines between right and wrong and it’s hard to fully support any one side.

Octavia was the one that alerted the Grounders to the Sky People’s plan and she’s a fascinating character in the show. I said that it’s hard to fully support any side but I’m always Team Octavia. Unfortunately, Bellamy is in the difficult position of standing on a different side from her but also being her brother. Bellamy has had a pretty dramatic change in his stance on Grounders but his love for his sister has always been his one unwavering characteristic. Will he turn against her?

Titus is an actual person – with real human feelings and ideas. After seeing Titus constantly at Lexa’s side, it was bizarre to see him in any other capacity that wasn’t faithful adviser. He has some very strong ideas and at the end of the episode it was shown that he was a survivor of the thirteenth ark station. Titus just became a lot more interesting and I can’t wait to find out what his endgame is.

That’s it this week – with the exception of Arrow, I thought that all of the shows brought a pretty high standard. Of course, you might think something completely different so tell me about it:

Is Siobhan more dangerous than a simple assistant? Were you impressed by the King Shark CGI work? Is Titus an enemy of Arcadia or the Grounders? Let me know in the comments.

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